Social media is brilliant. It can bring attention to a cause, traffic to a business, or friends to friends. Not to mention, it gives us a way to be “social” without leaving our safe little wifi fortresses.
However, as with many beneficial things, there is a flip side.
According to the mainly speculative and/or imaginary studies conducted by myself, social media’s main endeavor seems to be to make “friends” want to slap each other in the mouth.
Why is this? That’s what the
researchers researcher at Mainly Speculative Studies has been trying to figure out.
When I was just a tater tot (thirteen years old), I was eager, to say the least, to get a facebook. My two older sisters had had theirs for quite a while, and every time I saw them updating a status, I gave an inward sigh and longed for the day when I, too, would grace the internet with witty, yet insightful, updates about my life. The day finally arrived when I got one. I set up an account with an eighteen-character password (which is way more trouble than my privacy is worth), and wrote my first post about my elk hunting trip.
(And then about seventeen seconds later, I accepted a friend request from the only vegan I know. Oops.)
Anyway, when we all got facebooks and other various social media accounts, it was a brave new world.
And it wasn’t long before we all became disillusioned.
Grammar errors. That’s just a given. Every English nerd out there is disappointed with the internet. But then there were vague “Don’t even ask about how crummy I’m feeling right now” and the “You know who you are” posts.
There was that one person who puts seven ellipses in every status.
There was that one relative who think he’s building everyone up with his twice-a-day inspirational quotes.
And then, oh yes, hashtags were finally enabled for people who wanted to know how many of their facebook friends had a #sunburn. (No one. No one wants to know that.)
And social media uneasiness: Making sure that post is perfect, looking to see if your pin got as many repins as you think it deserved, finding that someone has tagged you in a photo that is less than adorable – these worries don’t make for impeccable mental health.
I once had a fifteen-minute conversation with an acquaintance about how annoying it was when you were friend-requested by someone you barely knew. I found them on facebook a week later and, due to our conversation, I ended up debating with myself for way too long about whether or not I should send them a friend request. Hurrah anxiety!
(For those of you keeping score at home, this person friend-requested me the next day, and I almost resented their decisiveness.)
I’m not even going to go into the almost irresistible urge to cyber-stalk people. We’ve all been there. And then ran out of there as fast as we could, deleted our internet history, and denied that we’d been there in the first place.
It’s an occupational hazard.
But all these things can affect how you see people, whether their twitter convinces you of their cleverness, or their instagram informs you that a couple of your friends have an unhealthy obsession with photographic documentation of food.
Social media is a necessary tool for businesses of the modern age, and a very advantageous one for everyday, individual use. But I would be lying through my deceptive little teeth if I claimed that it wasn’t to blame for a lot of lost respect.
What do you guys think? Mainly Speculative Studies wants your opinion.
[UPDATE: at least a couple of you are lying about being Loki]
Lest we forget, polls are most definitely one of the ups of social media. I would love to see what other its other users think, as it is a possibility that other people aren’t quite so easily annoyed as I seem to be.
Now get out there and be social.
(And yes, you can go ahead and take that however you want)